What strings do you use, Warren Haynes?

© Paul R. Giunta/Corbis

From the Guitar Techniques archive, we ask a famous guitarist all those little questions you really do want the answers to… Here Gov't Mule mainman and Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes answers our questions.

Do you have a type of pick that you can't live without?

I use D'Andrea .88mm abalone 347 shape picks. It's the shape I've played for my entire career.

If you had to give up all your pedals but three, what would they be?

I'd pick the Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere for Leslie eff ects, the Diaz Texas Ranger treble boost and the Dunlop Crybaby wah. All three are expressive and touch sensitive to my style…

Do you play another instrument well enough to be in a band?

I love drums and all percussion instruments…

If a music chart was put in front of you, could you read it?


Do guitar cables really make a difference? What make are yours?

I think everything in the signal path makes a difference to your tone, so definitely yes. I use Planet Waves cables.

Is there anyone's playing (past or present) that you're slightly jealous of? (And why?)

No comment!

Your house/studio is burning down: which guitar do you salvage?

My 1961 ES-335 - because it's my favourite of all my instruments.

What's your favourite amp and how do you set it up?

I've always been a Soldano/Diaz amp guy, but lately I'm starting to play PRS Dallas amps. Input gain at 11 o'clock, master at 4 o'clock, tone controls vary from guitar to guitar.

What kind of action do you have on your guitars?

Medium action - too low to be set for slide, and too high to be set for fast picking.

What guitar strings do you use?

GHS - Burnished Nickel Rockers, 10-46 gauge for Les Pauls, 11-50 gauge for Firebirds (Eb for Firebird). GHS Nickel Rockers, 10-46 with bottom string replaced with .54 (low D) for Les Pauls in drop D.

For acoustic, GHS Vintage Bronze 12-54 gauge - good for all acoustics. I've been using these strings for the last 11 years because I like the consistency of the tone.